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AIIMS and IIT Delhi collaboration yield groundbreaking innovations in AI-driven neurosurgery simulations

A groundbreaking collaboration between the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi, and IIT Delhi was showcased during the 16th IIT-Delhi Open House program. This collaborative effort, led by Prof. Ashish Suri, Head of the Unit at the Neurosurgery Department at AIIMS and Faculty-in-Charge of the Neuro-Engineering Lab, aimed to transform the training and evaluation of neurosurgical skills, particularly those critical for brain surgery. The project received support from the Centre of Excellence projects funded by DBT and ICMR.

One of the key highlights of the demonstration was the introduction of a stand-alone deep learning system designed to train and assess neurosurgeons in intricate microscopic techniques, such as micro-suturing and micro-drilling, as well as essential endoscopic skills that require precise hand-eye coordination. This system not only eases the burden of evaluation on expert neurosurgeons but also establishes a standardised training and assessment protocol within the field.

During the event, Prof. M. Srinivas, Director of AIIMS, engaged in discussions with PhD students involved in the project, commending the initiative for its potential to reshape the future of surgical training.

Prof. Prem Kumar Kalra, one of the project's leaders, noted that the collaboration between IIT Delhi and AIIMS had made significant strides in automating skills evaluation in microscopic and endoscopic neurosurgery training using computer vision and AI/ML. He emphasised that this would encourage further research in developing technology for medical education and training.

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Dr Ramandeep Singh, a scientist at the Neuro-Engineering Lab, AIIMS New Delhi, emphasised the importance of the hardware component, stating that 3D printing and biomechanical properties played a crucial role in neurosurgical simulation, enabling the creation of highly realistic anatomical models that accurately mimic the physical characteristics of brain tissues.

Prof. Subodh Kumar, another key contributor to the project, spoke about the future vision, highlighting the potential of advances in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for surgery simulation. These technologies offer the opportunity for simulation using virtual patients with realistic disease and procedure modelling, providing full visual and haptic feedback. Integrating such simulators and their objective measures into the medical curriculum has the potential to revolutionise medical training.

The demonstration received an overwhelming response from hundreds of attendees from academia and industry, underscoring the significant interest and enthusiasm surrounding this innovative collaboration.

This groundbreaking work exemplifies the potential of collaboration between the medical and engineering fields and promises to bring about a paradigm shift in neurosurgical training and assessment. The event marked a pivotal moment in the journey towards reshaping the future of medical education and practice.

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